By: Carter Gehrke and Ian McCafferty
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As we enter the last week of Stage Three there are still two spots open for Stage Three playoffs and plenty of teams that still have a shot to at least snag that brand new 4th seed.
Meanwhile, the Boston Uprising and NYXL have already clinched their spots and will simply be playing for seeding in Week 5. Uprising make their first appearance in the stage playoffs and NYXL make their third straight.

Eliminated: Shanghai Dragons, Dallas Fuel and Florida Mayhem

Despite coming close, Shanghai still hasn’t won a match, Fuel have gone through even more turmoil this stage after trading Custa and Mayhem just didn’t make the jump we thought they would. So these three squads have nothing to play for but pride this week.

Boston Uprising is in

– 2 wins secure 1 seed

– 1 win secures at least the 2 seed

– 0 wins and a possible drop to the 3 seed

Boston has looked like the best team in OWL this stage and has a real shot at being the first 10-0 team in league history. They take on the Valiant and Gladiators this week with both teams needing wins to clinch spots. No matter what, Boston is in the playoffs and given the fact that the 1 seed can pick who they want to play, they’ll avoid NYXL in the first round. Still, I think they’ll want to complete that perfect stage.

NYXL is in

– 2 wins AND Bos loss secures 1 seed (if +/- is higher)

– 1 win AND 2 Bos losses AND 1 LAV loss secures 1 seed

(if +/- is higher)

– 2 wins OR 1 win AND 1 LAV loss secures at least 2 seed

NYXL are in the playoffs once again after winning it all in Stage Two, but for the first time, they’re not the easy choice for the 1 seed. They’ll need at least 1 loss from the Uprising to secure the top spot, and since NYXL plays Dallas and Shanghai this week they’ll almost certainly finish 9-1. It’ll just come to down to if Boston drops a game to either Valiant or Gladiators.
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So those are our two teams already in, but what about the other two spots? Anyone from the 3rd to 9th seed right now could be in the playoffs on Sunday.
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Los Angeles Valiant

1 win (Boston or Philadelphia)

OR 1 loss from Seoul AND Philadelphia AND Houston AND San Francisco

OR Better +/- than anyone else who finishes 6-4

OR Can get the 1 Seed with 2 wins AND 1 NYXL loss AND 2 Bos losses AND better +/-

So the Valiant are as close as you can be to being in the playoffs without actually qualifying yet. Their easiest path in is just 1 win this week over either Boston or Philadelphia, but they can still clinch with a 0-2 week. They sit at 6-2 with a +13 map differential, the four teams sitting at 5-8 are all 4-4 with map differentials of +1, 0, -2 and -4, so baring an unreal collapse where they get 4-0’d by both their opponents the Valiant are pretty much safe.

Los Angeles Gladiators

2 wins (Florida AND Boston)

OR 1 win AND better map +/- than anyone else who finishes 6-4

OR 1 win AND 1 loss from Seoul AND Philadelphia AND Houston AND San Francisco

OR Better +/- than anyone else who finishes 5-5

So this is where things start to get interesting. Of all the teams from 4 to 9, the Gladiators have the most straightforward path into the playoffs and a probable matchup with either Boston or NYXL. If they beat Florida on Wednesday and Boston on Friday they’re in. If they only win one of those matches things get weird, either they have to hope they have a better map +/- than Dynasty, Fusion, Outlaws and Shock or all of those four teams lose a match. Luckily for LAG Houston play Shock and Seoul so somebody is going to lose each of those matches. But if the Gladiators really want to make the playoffs they need to just focus on winning both their matches.

Houston Outlaws

2 wins (SF and Seoul) AND 1 LAG loss AND better +/- than LAG and PHI

OR 1 win AND 2 LAG losses AND 1 PHI loss AND 1 loss from either Seoul or SF AND better +/- than LAG and PHI and Seoul or SF

OR 2 wins AND 2 LAV losses AND better +/- than LAV

So Houston has a fairly clear path here because they play two of their fellow 4-4 teams this week. If Gladiators beat Mayhem on Wednesday, the Outlaws Shock match will be an elimination game. Houston needs to hope that they can win both matches this week and that Boston beats Gladiators and even then they have to make up the four maps they trail LAG by.

Philadelphia Fusion

2 wins (Dallas and LAV) AND 1 LAG loss AND better +/- than other 6-4 teams

OR 1 win AND 2 LAG losses AND 1 Houston loss AND 1 Seoul loss AND 1 SF loss AND better +/- than other 5-5 teams

OR 2 wins AND 2 LAV losses AND better +/- than LAV

From possible stage three favorites to on the playoffs bubble, the Fusion have fallen a long way since being one map from the Stage Two championship. Almost losing to Shanghai doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either. If Fusion somehow lose to Fuel, then Gladiators can knock them out with a win. However if they beat Fuel and Valiant fall to Boston, suddenly Fusion has an outside chance to make the playoffs again. The only problem is they’d almost certainly have to 4-0 Valiant and in their current form I’m not sure that’s possible. But crazier things have happened.

Seoul Dynasty

2 wins (London and Houston) AND 1 LAG loss AND better +/- than other 6-4 teams

OR 1 win AND 2 LAG losses AND 1 Houston loss AND 1 PHI loss AND 1 SF loss AND better +/- than other 5-5 teams

OR 2 wins AND 2 LAV losses AND better +/- than LAV

This is a tough one. Seoul has been hit or miss all stage and London has been even worse, but Seoul has gotten blasted by London each of the times they’ve played in OWL so far. They’ve also had some problems with Houston, but that match might not even matter if they lose to London. It doesn’t look great for the Dynasty this stage.

San Francisco Shock

2 wins (Houston and Florida) AND 1 LAG loss AND better +/- than other 6-4 teams

OR 1 win AND 2 LAG losses AND 1 PHI loss AND 1 Seoul loss AND 1 Houston loss AND better +/- than other 5-5 teams

The Shock actually have a decent chance to qualify if they can make their way past the Outlaws on Wednesday. They don’t have the extra option of a Valiant collapse getting them in because their current +/- is too low however. But beat Outlaws and all you have to do is beat Mayhem, in literally the next match on the schedule, and hope for a Boston win over LAG. Easy.

London Spitfire

2 wins (Seoul and Shanghai) AND 1 PHI loss AND 2 LAG losses AND SF loses to Houston AND Houston loses to Seoul AND have highest +/- of 5-5 teams

OR 2 wins (Seoul and Shanghai) AND 1 PHI loss AND 2 LAG losses AND Houston loses to SF AND SF loses to Florida AND have highest +/- of 5-5 teams.

Yes, it is still possible for the 3-5 London Spitfire to make the stage playoffs, it would just take…… a lot. First of all, London needs to win both of their matches and garner some decent map scores too. If they only beat Seoul by 1 map they’d probably need to beat Shanghai 4-0. But none of that matters if every single team in front of them doesn’t lose at least 1 match and Gladiators lose two. It’s possible but it is not very likely.

Now in the case of ties with +/- here are the relevant head to head tiebreakers:
LAV: LAG, Seoul, and SF
LAG: Houston, Seoul, and London
Houston: LAV, and London
Philly: Houston, and London
Seoul: Philly and SF
SF: LAG, and Philly
London: SF
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